I finally finished The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern on Christmas. I was looking forward to this book immensely because I absolutely loved The Night Circus. In fact I re-listen to the audio book of The Night Circus every couple of months; it is read by Jim Dale who brings such life and sympathy to the characters. I need you to know this as I tell you how I felt about The Starless Sea as I am fully aware that I am not the most unbiased source. I will say that when I read the last page of the book I cried, not because it was sad but because it was over and I had to leave that world now. It hurt my soul a little, and still does.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is the son of a fortune teller who narrowly escapes an adventure as a child. As an adult grad student he discovers a book in the library and becomes aware of just how close. The discovery leads him into a world of stories that lies beneath our world and just on the edge of a starless sea.
The world Morgenstern created is so lush and complex, and is laid out in a language of fairy tale and myth in a way that feels as though it was written just for me. I fell into the world freely and gladly, my little escapist Pisces heart happy to be taken away and allowed to live with people out of time, and curious cats. I have read several reviews of the book that say something to the effect of “if you are the kind of person who likes this type of book you will love it but…” I guess I am just that kind of person because I thought the story was original and nuanced, and as everything is starting to come together toward the end of the book her ability to blend and reveal was beautiful and engaging.
The characters, including our hero Zachary, are unusual, complex and quirky as are the settings. I learned from this book the names of the lions on the steps of the New York Public Library (Patience and Fortitude). I fell a little in love with all of the characters including the cats and with the beauty of the Starless Sea. AS said previously this was obviously a book that was written for someone like me, and I found it beautiful.
If you are the kind of person who likes this type of book I cannot recommend The Starless Sea more. I plan to read it again and again while waiting for Erin to write me another beautiful tale.